Cairo Santos lived the life of a kicker in the Chiefs’ 19-12 loss to the Texans on Sunday.
Santos supplied all the Chiefs points, and was perfect on all four field-goal attempts, including a 53-yarder that matched his career best.
But Santos also was responsible for a mistake that proved pivotal.
After his 43-yard field goal to open the fourth quarter cut the Texans’ lead to 13-6, Santos angled his kickoff toward the corner.
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It bounced out of bounds at the 1, and the penalty allowed the Texans to start at the 40.
The Chiefs’ kickoff coverage had been part of a solid dayfor the special teams, downing the Texans at the 16 and 15 on previous kickoffs.
But this error gave Houston excellent field position, and the Texans marched for a field goal that provided a two-score lead.
“Awful kick, my fault,” Santos said. “I’ve been working to get aggressive with my directional kicks. But I yanked it.”
Still, by making all four field goals, Santos remains perfect in six attempts this season.
The 53-yarder was right down the middle with a few yards to spare. Santos believed he had one of those yards.
So did the Chiefs and the CBS crew working the game. The broadcast called it a 54-yarder, complete with a graphic, and the Chiefs tweeted out that Santos had established a career best, topping the mark he set as a rookie in 2014 against the Rams.
But the home team makes the call on the distance, and the Texans called it a 53-yarder.
“Was it 53 or 54? Santos asked a Chiefs official after the game.
He was told the Texans called it a 53-yarder.
The placement by holder Dustin Colquitt wasn’t on a hash mark but in the middle of the field, on the red horn of the Texans’ logo.
The kick came on the first play of the second quarter, so the field-goal unit wasn’t rushed. Santos said he knew precisely where he lined up.
“I’m going to fight for that one,” Santos said.
Ultimately, Santos knew that his kicks meant the offense couldn’t close deals.
“You never know how games are going to play out, so every time you get an opportunity to kick a field goal it’s very important,” Santos said. “It could be the deciding factor. But I wished we could have turned field goals into touchdowns.”